Kick-Start Your Practice After Re-Opening
Ensuring your communication and marketing is in shape post the Covid-19 lock-down
It’s certainly hectic at the moment as the Government and various dental authorities give practices the green-light to re-open. There are lots of sighs of relief but also significant confusion and indeed trepidation as dentists set out to navigate uncharted waters. The problems have been exacerbated by a lack of clear guidance on what can and can’t be done, together with a lack of notification. Practical problems also exist, for example lack (and cost) of PPE, fit-testing and even uncertainty over whether PPE is actually genuine or not. So lots of new challenges to take on and overcome.
It may well be a lot of unwelcome new work, but handling the Covid-19 crisis well actually gives opportunities to strengthen the bond with your patients and use those renewed relationships to help to grow your dental practice for the future.
Let’s take a look at some of the key ways you can help to kick-start your practice and get business moving again.
Communicate effectively and often
This has been a testing time for your patients as well as yourselves and staff so it’s essential to make sure that the new policies, procedures and opening times are communicated effectively. You will have implemented lots of new “Covid Secure” procedures and you need your patients to know what these are before they arrive for appointments. This could range from completing on-line assessments before arrival to waiting in the car before being called inside. Whatever your new “patient journey” entails, you need to make sure it’s communicated.
Here are some of the basics:
- Re-scheduled appointments – email to advise the new appointment times or new procedures for re-booking
- New practice working hours – email to advise what these are. You may be considering additional hours to deal with back-logs or perhaps even restricted hours to re-open gradually?
- Safety protocols – email to ensure that patients know what to expect when they arrive and what is expected of them. As mentioned in an earlier blog, this is also an ideal opportunity to show your new procedures and facilities in the best light, instil confidence and also differentiate from other practices which may not be quite so robust
Update your practice website and blog
Don’t just stop with a few emails. Also make sure that your website and blog is updated too so that there is a real-time reference point for your patients should they need to check your latest information. Again, take the opportunity to really show what you’ve done to improve patient safety and build trust. We are updating hundreds of websites at the moment with exactly this in mind.
Don’t forget to update your online business listings
Please remember to check all online references which show your practice opening hours. Unfortunately there are quite a few so be diligent about this. However, if you are stuck for time, as a minimum log in to update your Google “My Business” listing and any other that show on the prominent dental business listing websites.
Don’t forget your social media channels!
Lots of people are spending their time on social media and often look to assets such as Facebook business pages for “real time” information about a businesse’s status. As soon as your plan and re-opening schedule is in place, make sure to communicate this effectively and regularly via your social channels.
Step up your marketing initiatives
In a blog from several weeks ago we discussed how patients were very unlikely to appreciate intensive marketing efforts promoting treatments to enhance their smiles. However, now that the work return is on the horizon, those types of messages and promotions are appropriate once again. Fortunately many dentists have kept up with their search engine optimisation (SEO) initiatives and have taken the opportunity to steal a lead on competitors who haven’t. However, in a few cases, we have had clients pause their SEO and as expected, results have started to slip away. If this applies to you, as soon as as renewed cash-flows allow, it is highly recommended to re-start your campaigns to start clawing back lost ground. Please remember that competition will be fiercer than ever in the “new normal” so it’s very important to make sure your search engine rankings are prominent.
For short-term impact, look to Google Ads and Facebook advertising to ensure that your message is out and that you are “open for business”. We can advise on the types of keyword strategies to use to ensure you capture a good share of dental patients looking to return for treatments, whether emergencies or looking forward to smile enhancement procedures. We are already seeing a ramp up in dental pay-per-click activity so starting early is wise.
Re-opening your dental practice after the Covid-19 movement restrictions is extremely important to get right. Do it well and you will delight existing patients and attract new ones too. Do it wrong, particularly when folk are sensitive, and you could set yourself back some way.
If you would like help to set up a comprehensive digital marketing strategy in support of your re-opening, including tools to help you carry out the advice above, please call the team here at Dental Media on 01332 672548. We’ve already helped lots of UK dentists position themselves for the re-start and we’ll be pleased to help your pratice too.Google+